Hot tip: when unloading 3,500 pounds of marijuana on a city street in the middle of the night, maybe conceal it in something a little more incog than shitty old U-Haul boxes and plastic baggies?
Members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force were driving through Queens at 1:25 am Monday morning when they noticed a group of men unloading scores of cardboard boxes from an 18-wheel semi-tractor trailer parked across the street from a local market. The men were depositing the boxes into a smaller moving truck and a cargo van in the middle of the night, which understandably raised suspicion. As officers approached, they became overwhelmed by the unmistakably pungent smell of marijuana.
Officers followed their noses to the inside of the truck where they saw rows of boxes stacked 6 feet high. Each box was packed with vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana — about $3.5 million worth in all. They also found stacks of cash amounting to between $200,000 and $300,000.
Police arrested Weiyang Yao, 47, and Yuejiang Zeng, 53, of California; Shan Wu Zhang, 30, of Canada; and Duanzhao Zhang, 38, Tong Shun Zhang, 29, and Tong Zhew Zhang, 24, of Brooklyn. They were charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree and will each face up to 5 ½ years in prison.